Homemade hinge is
shaped around a finishing nail. Portion of the nail serves as
a hinge pin and is soldered to the tabs on the rabbit target.
Easiest way to attach
target hinges to moving belt is with rivets. Space targets so
there is the width of one figure between each of the pairs.
invitation to the next A-bomb test hasn't arrived yet, you can
still get your bangs at the nearest shooting gallery. Or, if
you feel like tinkering, you can have a shooting gallery (junior
grade for you very own. It's fun to construct and exciting to
use, so it makes a perfect dad-and-lad undertaking. It works
just like the big ones at summer carnivals, but as air rifle or
air pistol with BB ammunition is used. That puts the shooting
expense way down. Also, there's no danger-you can set the
target up either inside the house or, when the weather permits,
outdoors on the lawn. It fits comfortably on an ordinary card
The project is simply made. It has a wooden base and a front
row of moving characters, such as Bugs Rabbit, who run on an
endless belt. They can be knocked over, but come to life again
the next trip around the circuit.
Do you have a
budding marksman in your home? You'll rate high with him if you
help him build this Lilliput shooting gallery.
endless belt onto its pulleys. The supporting piece
between the two pulleys prevents the belt and its targets from
Closeup of the
Erector motor that is used to drive the targets. To prevent
slippage, apply beeswax to drive belt (which is made of
At the rear are some
more targets. One revolves slowly and, theoretically, you get a
prize if you put a BB slug through the right hole at the right
time and ring the bell. Then there are some "clay pipes that
look like the real thing. Instead of breaking, however, they
merely spin merrily each time they are hit. Lastly, for timid
shooters, there's a round target that doesn't go anywhere but
has a large hole through which it's easy to ring the gong.
To avoid ricochets as well as high costs, the backstop is of
canvas on a dowel frame. Canvas will stop a BB shot without
Those galloping rabbits and other characters suggested in the
accompanying drawings are best cut with a hand or power scroll
saw. You will need ten of them and they should be between 2 and
in. high to provide the most desirable target area from a
distance of 15 or 20 ft. Use galvanized 24-ga. sheet metal.
Leave a tab at the bottom of each for hinges. After cutting,
file away the burrs and smooth up the pieces with emery cloth.
The figures are attached to the endless belt with hinges that
permit them to fall backward when hit, but prevent them from
falling forward. Small brass hinges are most satisfactory if
they work freely; the figures are not heavy enough to operate
stiff hinges. If you wish, you can make the bottoms of the
figures self-hinging. Pieces of 24-ga. metal are formed around
finishing nails, which serve as hinge pins. The ends of each
nail are soldered to the bent-forward tabs at the bottom of each
Bell target at
rear is also driven by string belt. Bell is difficult to hit
when the disk revolves merrily in front of it.
Shaft from the
Erector motor supplies power for rear bell target. Solid disk
is used as back cover for the target.
Clay pipes spin
rapidly when hit but automatically return to shooting
position. Bell target at left is stationary.
A piece of furniture webbing with the ends sewed together is a
satisfactory target belt. A flexible leather belt would be even
better. Rivet the targets to the belt with a space the width of
one figure between each pair.
A 5x18-in. piece of wood supports the pulleys over which the
target belt travels. If you turn your own pulleys, 2 in. wide
and 11/2 in. in diameter is a satisfactory size. Be sure to
make a groove in one for the drive belt. If you search around,
you will probably find a pair of wooden spools near enough in
size to serve the purpose nicely. The shafts to which they are
fitted are common bolts. Drive a short piece of metal tubing in
each end of each pulley. These serve as bearings; lubricate
them during assembly.
You will notice that a brace from an Erector set has been used
to support the free end of the driven pulley. A few other such
braces are used elsewhere because of the ease of assembly they
permit. They can be purchased for a few cents each or you can
use ordinary strap iron. Use of an Erector motor is quite
desirable because of its rear. Cut four holes as shown in one of
the disks. It is difficult to hit the bell as this disk
revolves in front of it. It is more to hit the bell through the
smallest hole than through the largest. You can number the
holes if you wish, or paint different-colored rings around
them. Anyway, the fellow or gal who can ring the bell through
the smallest hole gets the biggest prize.
You will like the "clay" pipes. After cutting them, solder
stiff wire shafts to the backs. Carefully smooth the lower end
of each shaft. Bore holes for the shafts in the rear target
support at a 70 degree angle. Before putting the shafts in
them, drop a small ball bearing in each. This will allow the
pipes to whirl easily when hit; because of the angle, they will
return to shooting position as they come to rest. Do you want
red fire flashes from the pipes each time they are hit? Stick a
disk of red Scotchlite to the back of each pipe bowl. This is
the reflective-bead material so often used on the rear bumpers
tire coating, which will not chip when hit, the targets are
finished in white. The background should be painted black.
Backstop frame is
constructed from dowels and plugs that are made either with a
hole cutter or by taking slices from an old broom handle.
The other rear target is cut from a 5-in. disk and has a large
hole and a bell. Watch for the stinker who takes the easy way
out by concentrating on this target because of the noise it
All targets should be painted white and the background should be
a dead black. The dead black was not shown in the illustrations
because it does not photograph well, but you can blacken all
parts except the targets merely by going over them with a can of
black stove polish. You might add a metal cover to protect the
motor, although tests indicate that it is well located against
ricochets. If you want special illumination, enclose the lamp
bulb inside a heavy pickle bottle.
Construction of the backstop is shown in one of the photos. you
can get the dowels in 36-in. lengths at any lumber yard. The
plugs, which serve as hinges as well as dowel connectors, can be
turned out in a jiffy with a hole cutter. (In this case, you
save the hole and throw away the board in which you made it.)
Plugs can also be made by taking slices from a broom handle. Be
careful, though-it splits easily. Use any heavy canvas, such as
a piece from an old tenet for the backstop. It will look the
same as new when blackened. Brighten up the project with a
strip of multi-colored awning canvas.
By Kenneth Murray
Mechanix Illustrated December 1953
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